Kim Jensen retires from teaching
May 27, 2011
"Here we go, smile sweet" Kim Jensen said to a group of McPolin Elementary Students as they crowded around him for a photo at his retirement party on May 20. Jensen explained that Park City is a beautiful place to be and the school district is even better.
Jensen started his career in Park City 38 years ago when he drove into town with his wife and three-day-old baby in 1973. His intention was to stay for a year.
Needless to say, Jensen never left Park City or the school district. Estimated to have taught more than 1,000 kids throughout his career, Jensen explained that the memories all run together. But being with the kids has been the most important.
"I had the opportunity to be the principal at one point, but I said I didn’t think so. Kids are where I want to be," he said.
Jensen spent more than 13 years teaching fourth, fifth and sixth graders at McPolin. One of the fourth grade students last year was Aidin OBrien. OBrien’s mom, Penny, said Jensen is her son’s favorite teacher of all time, "Mr. J has a unique way of teaching kids. He always gets students outside on field trips," she said.
OBrien explained that, every fall, Jensen plans a hiking trip for his students. Grooming the trails several days prior to the field trip, Jensen maps out the areas where he’ll teach his students. "It’s motivating for the other teachers," OBrien said.
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When the students come back with leaves and rocks, Jensen helps them build a habitat in the classroom, O’Brien explained.
Jensen’s wife, Marilyn, is looking forward to spending time with her fishing partner, "being able to spend time doing things together he loves to fish," she said.
Although Jensen is retiring from his regular teaching position, he won’t be completely off the hook. Marilyn Jensen runs a preschool and seems more than happy to have her husband’s assistance, "he’s the hired help. The kids love him already," she said.
Jensen explained that he will probably be back in the schools as a substitute teacher at some point.